A judge has sentenced an Amarillo woman to nearly three years in the state pen for running a clever airline voucher scam in which she was able to bilk her victims out of more than $400,000.

Ai Inthavong Lopez, 37, pleaded guilty to mail fraud and was sentenced to 34 months in prison.

Authorities say Lopez defrauded her victims by offering vouchers through the U.S. Postal Service for low-priced airfare that she couldn't provide. Lopez also used the scam to collect personal information and credit card numbers from her victims.

"In some cases, Lopez would use the credit card numbers from one victim to purchase tickets for another," My High Plains reports.

In addition to this new scam targeting airline tickets that you need to be on the look out for the USPS warns recipients of mail to be on the lookout for the following:

  • Sweepstakes and ‘Free’ Prize
  • ‘Free’ Vacations
  • Government Look-Alike Mail
  • Solicitations Disguised As Invoices
  • Foreign Lotteries
  • Chain Letters
  • Charity Fraud
  • Phony Inheritance Schemes
  • Home Improvement and Home Repair Fraud

According to ScamWatch, Internet scams are also very common and target everyone. The key to avoid becoming a victim is always to be alert and observe the following tips:

* Accept the fact that scams exist, and never let your guard down.

* Know who you are dealing with at all times. If you're unsure of the source, do a Google search or other background check. Otherwise, steer clear.

* Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or emails. Better yet, delete them.

* Keep your personal information in a safe place and never give out credit card numbers without knowing the source making the request. Put a lock on your mailbox to ensure privacy and security.

* Choose your passwords carefully and never give them out.

* Beware of unusual payment requests, and especially use caution when shopping online.

The Internet is a useful and convenient tool to make our lives easier. However, it comes at the risk of falling victim to an online scam. Knowledge and caution are the keys to keep your personal information -- and your money -- safe.

This woman needs to have the book thrown at her. Two years isn't long enough of a sentence!

Have you been targeted in a mail scam? Describe your experience in the comment section below.

 
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